Anthony Mackie Salutes Sebastian Stan Ahead of Falcon and Winter Soldier Finale

Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes might be a couple of guys with a mutual friend, but Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan are longtime Marvel co-stars — and they're riding together into the series finale of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Friday's action-packed Episode 6 pits Mackie's high-flying Falcon and Stan's metal-armed Barnes against the combined forces of Karli Morgenthau's (Erin Kellyman) super-powered Flag Smashers — backed by Batroc (Georges St-Pierre), who is backed by Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) — with scorned Super Soldier John Walker (Wyatt Russell) in the mix as a rogue Captain America.

"Two guys walk into a bar... Finally at the [final] episode and can't think of a better guy to have gone on this ride with," Mackie wrote in a Thursday Instagram post published just hours before Friday's finale.

"We looked at a lot of the interviews they had done together, and they had this natural chemistry and we capitalized on that. Because they’re friends off-screen, they have a history and comfort level that comes through," series director Kari Skogland told the Toronto Sun about Mackie and Stan, who have appeared together since Captain America: The Winter Soldier in 2014. "The characters weren't friends, and they don't even like each other … but Bucky is like a lost puppy as he annoyingly follows Sam as they try to solve what's going on in the world."

After the "frenemies" were forced to team up in 2016's Captain America: Civil War — where the two "wingmen" were Team Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) when Zemo (Daniel Brühl) orchestrated an Avengers-disassembling plot — Marvel producers recognized the potential of a Falcon and Winter Soldier spin-off taking place in a post-Blip world after Avengers: Endgame.

"That was wonderful territory for the two characters to explore. They've been playing these guys for a long time, but as smaller characters," Skogland said. "But now was a chance to get to know them and their vulnerabilities. That was a bit terrifying, I think. Especially for Sebastian because the Winter Soldier is such an iconic character and now, we were ripping off all that veneer and getting into the man. That was new territory."

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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series finale premieres Friday, April 23, on Disney+.

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